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Easing the Transition from Antiperspirant to Natural Deodorant

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Easing the Transition from Antiperspirant to Natural Deodorant

Natural deodorant is such a tough transition; rewarding, for sure, but not as simple as switching your toothbrush from plastic to bamboo. What many don't realize until they get into it is that there is a transition period that can be very uncomfortable to pass through, and the amount of time it takes depends on the person. This blog post is going to be a collection of the tips and ideas I've gathered from my own experience and the many, many conversations I've gotten to have with customers in the shop that have shared what worked for them.

So, what's this transition period?

If you hit puberty and then spent the rest of your days applying antiperspirant like I did, you're part of the majority of us living the Western consumer lifestyle. Sure, puberty is the time when hormones flood our body and we are very likely stinky most of the time. But, we end up using conventional deodorants from that day onward, after the hormones have calmed, and antiperspirant is the typical choice. Plastic tubes notwithstanding, there is a ton of evidence out there that can explain how antiperspirant works and how its application can be detrimental for the body. Sweat has a multitude of functions in the body, and our armpits are an outlet for a lot of things out body needs to expel. I was at the point at some periods that I had to use extra strength deodorant multiple times a day to control my sweat; my body was working hard to clear things out and no matter what I did with my antiperspirant, at times I could not control it. The detox period occurs when the body is finally able to do its thing, and this can come on hard and lasts until things can balance out.

This detox period can last for a few days, up to a few weeks, and beyond to a couple months for some. For most, the start is the worst and then plateaus for a bit, with the beginning being the peak for a few days. Most people that I have chatted with give the timeframe of 1-2 weeks, but mentally prepare yourself for longer if that's what your body needs (as this whole process is one of listening and paying attention to your body in a way that we are normally disconnected). In the days prior to going through the whole transition to natural deodorant myself, I met several people that don't ever wear deodorant, or maybe apply it only once a week as they need it. This seemed nuts to me, completely impossible! However, after the transition period ends, this is realistic for a lot of people, including those that have very active lifestyles or jobs, to need to use deodorant less and less.

Will I still sweat/stink after the detox period?

Yes. For sure you will. No matter how far someone has detoxed, your body needs to sweat. To regulate heat, to manage hormone fluctuations, to attempt to regulate your body during stress. For women, they may find that certain days in their cycle are the "sweaty day" - and this is okay; your body is doing what it needs to do. Many find that breastfeeding, pregnancy, and menopause can throw their sweat off track - and this makes sense, because hormones really affect our sweat levels. We have managed to really disconnect from our bodies these days as well; we can look at issues that stress causes (like an over sweaty bod) and either choose to quickly cover it up with an antiperspirant (that will continue to affect our bod negatively), or we can look at how to manage things differently and listen to what the body is telling us. 

So, this being said, you'll have times where you're going to be extra sweaty and stinky. There are many things that you can do to manage those impacts and recognize that your body likely needs to do its thing. If it is a long term thing, paying attention to the root cause may warrant some attending to, but in the meantime, here's our list of ways to ease the initial transition phase, or the sweaty days that crop up in the future.

1. Wash them out

This one seems simple, but it will help the transition process tremendously. Washing your armpits when they are going through a heavy purge will prevent the bacteria from sticking around and stinking it up. During my transition, I washed my underarms in the morning and evening before applying natural deodorant. We have an underarm detox wash bar, which is great for this task, as it contains charcoal that will help to detoxify the skin and the suds can pull some of the toxins out as charcoal can bind with many of them. If you're gardening or exercising during the transition process, do a good wash when you're done a big sweat (helping yourself to sweat it out is also a great idea, if you can handle it!).

2. Charcoal Masks + Deodorants

So, to piggy back on the charcoal wash idea, you can go one step further and do a mask with some bentonite or charcoal infused elements, just like you'd do on your face. You can add apple cider vinegar to assist in sanitizing those pittties as well to your mask if you're using a basic bentonite clay or one of the clay face masks in the shop. Trying this and allowing it to dry and pull some of the toxins out will prevent your body from having to sweat them out and you'll make the process happen faster. 

Additionally, charcoal can be found in some deodorants, for this specific purpose. We have a few options that customers love to rely on during a transition period, or for those extra sweaty days when you need it - a marathon, that peak day in your menstrual cycle, a stressful period in life. The only key thing to remember when using charcoal in your routines is that it is a dark black colour; wearing a white or light coloured shirt with it might not end well for your laundry routine.

3. Lemon Spritzes or Wipes

I've even met a few people in the shop that have mentioned they use lemon juice (diluted, if you like) in a spritz bottle or facial round/cloth applied directly to their armpits. This would fall into the same category as wiping or adding apple cider vinegar to a mask for the armpit - another way to sanitize the bacteria that is building up as you sweat out what you've been holding back. The lemon scent is nice, the acidic content is natural, and the bacteria can be eliminated.

4. Wear Natural Fabrics

Another tip from our staff member, Sarah, is to pay attention to the clothing you're wearing during the transition process and beyond. Cottons, linens, hemp and plastic free fabrics will allow your body to breathe, rather than trapping sweat. Polyesters and nylons make air flow an issue, and if you're sweating a lot in them, the sweat and bacteria will bind with the fabrics in a way that is going to amplify the smell. It can also be tough to wash sweat out of these fabrics, and natural stain removers are generally made of natural oils to remove sweat, so it's not going to work out as well for you. You may need to increase your laundry, use a fabric spray with alcohol or witch hazel, or try to at least wear natural fabrics while you sleep to ensure you're not making things harder than they need to be.

5. Drink Water + Sweat it Out

Ensuring you get enough water in during the days you're passing through the sweaty period will also help your body have the fuel it needs to create the sweat to expel the toxins built up in the area. Getting a good sweat on and making sure you're drinking a lot of water will truly help speed the process up.

6. Try a Spoon or a Tongue Scraper

If you're really noticing a big buildup of sweat in your armpit, and it seems to be washing your natural deodorant out, try scraping it off with a tongue scraper or a spoon. The physical removal of bacteria and the buildup will be extremely helpful (Routine Deodorant even sells a tongue scraper as an "armpit tool" for this purpose). We suggest following up with a good wash and a reapply of your deodorant. 

7. Expect to Apply more Often

While you may go through your new natural deodorant faster, don't expect it to be like this forever. During my detox, I applied my deodorant before bed and in the morning and after exercise, when I would usually only put it on once a day, after a shower, or after exercising. I would wake up in the morning smelly if I didn't put it on at night as well, but that ended after a few days (but still occurs during that heavy day of my cycle as mentioned above). 

Routine makes some smaller sized samples, and I started with these to find out if it would actually work for me. These little jars were perfect for the car or my work bag, to ensure I never was without deodorant during this sweaty time. You can also scoop a little bit out of your large jar into a small container to bring with you on your day, and this might be something to try for the transition period to keep you comfy.

8. Pay attention to Baking Soda + your Skin

In transitioning to natural deodorant, which contains a lot of baking soda usually, the skin can be irritated. This is true for more people than you'd think. If you notice soreness in your armpit skin, red bumps or redness, you may be reacting to the baking soda. We have some baking soda free options if you're sensitive to try, but it is definitely something to watch out for. It doesn't mean natural deodorant can't work for you, it just means your bod would rather another formula.

9. Remember that it's a Phase

This isn't forever. It is just a bit of a process to help your body get back to status quo after so many years of not being allowed to regulate in the way it needs to. This whole process can be frustrating, disgusting, and unfortunate. Or, it can be a way to reconnect with your body and help it relax into what it has always been meant to do without an intervention that has been shown to have adverse health effects and a whole lot of single use plastics at the end of the day. Setting your outlook and mindset as to what you're doing and why you're going about it can help this be so much more manageable, and getting set up with some options to help you out before you dive in is a great first step to making it doable.

If you've tried any of our tips, or have some more to share, please leave us a comment and share this post with a friend!

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